20 years

My 20th high school reunion will be taking place in a couple of weeks. I will not be going. I hated high school (only marginally less than I hated junior high school) and spent most of my time figuring out how to leave early.

There are a few friends I grew up with that I'm still in touch with, on a once-a-year Xmas card kind of basis. A couple of people are still living in our home town, and I see them when I visit my mother. But by and large I've been able to forget most of the people and events associated with high school. Or so I thought.

I'd never gotten any information about the 10-year and had thought I'd remained below the radar of the ex-student-council types. But someone passed my email along to the people who are organizing this reunion. They're circulating all information about it electronically, which makes sense in the current age. But they're doing this not via a website, like sane people -- but by sending email "blasts" (say that in perky cheerleader voice to get it just. right.) to everyone in our class who they have an email address for. This was a moderate-sized school, with maybe 350-400 people in our class. They've got emails for probably 250 at this point.

The best part? Various geniuses have been hitting "reply all" to send their enthusiastic comments and suggestions. One girl woman (sorry, but how can I think of her as an adult? in my mind she'll always be a preppy volleyball player) writes "hey, Joe Smith, can you still dunk a basketball? Kristi I loved your hair!! Kurt Henderson, remember barfing after the big game?"* And then Joe has to write back about yes he can still dunk, etc. The "popular people" are having a frickin conversation in front of 200 other people . Nothing changes. (Of course, the fact that the middle-class popular people are organizing the reunion via email also means that the other half of our graduating class, the ones who have mostly melted back into the Appalachian underclass, are pretty much left out of the loop. Nothing changes.)

The weird thing about going to high school in a small town -- with people you'd known since junior high and sometimes elementary school -- is that you knew people's names. I thought I'd wiped those sectors of my personal memory bank, but the email list brings it back. It's oddly exhausting, just reading over the names of all these people I'd forgotten. I'm surprised I don't run into more people from high school when I'm in my home town, but it's not like I'd necessarily recognize them face to face, even if I recognize a name. I'm mildly curious about a few of them, but it'll be more than sufficient to hear about the reuinion from some friends who will go.

The other weird thing? Because of the laws of my home state, we were all pretty much the same age in each grade. (Except for the guys who got held back and had beards in 7th grade...) So these emails are full of other people's comments about being 38. And that's struck me, since I'm almost never in a situation with a whole room full of other people my age. I don't think any of my friends or colleagues are my age. It's weird to think that at one time I only knew people my own age.

It's all kind of sad, but funny too. And I have better things to do, but I just can't help myself from reading each idiotic message that scrolls across my inbox.

*names have been changed